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This was definitely a different feeling from Christi's other books! Not in a bad way, just had a vibe that felt a bit unfamiliar to me. As always, the book was splendid, the characters exciting and unique, and the story brought up so many emotions. The difference, I feel, is that the two main characters seem to diverge from Christi's typical male/female roles. In this book, the heroine was much stronger than the hero in many ways, and as well, the hero was much older than Christi's typical hero - 41! I enjoyed seeing this side of nobility during that time period, because typically, men of that age in romance books are married, have multiple children, and maybe even some grandchildren already. Things moved fast back then! Instead, our hero has never been married and has no kids, and he has an air of naivete about him. Unusual but also brilliant.
The last thing Clara Winters needs in her life is a bleeding man on her bed. And not just a man - a nobleman. She is trying to establish a safe place of employment for people in the Dials, where women are often forced into prostitution just to survive. She has no time to be a savior. When Henry March, the Earl of Waterson, awakens, he thinks she's an angel. But she's no angel - Clara is a former courtesan and madam, the last person Henry should be associating himself with. Even though they must part ways, life keeps bringing them together, and they find company with each other more and more. As their relationship builds from friendship to something more intimate, they must decide where their loyalties lie, or else their lives will be torn apart.
Clara was a strong, independent woman, and I admired her so much for schooling Henry on what it meant to be a woman in those times. She had gone through so much, fought so hard to get where she was, and she wouldn't let anyone take that from her. It didn't matter what station they had in life - she would go toe-to-toe with them if she must. Henry was, as I mentioned above, a bit naive. He was an MP, so he had seen much of the world, but he didn't really understand it. He looked at things in terms of black and white, and there are always shades of grey. Clara was really good for him, and although he disappointed her on several occasions, he truly did have a kind and generous heart. While I felt his reaction at finding out her past was not as big as I was expecting, it just goes to show that some men truly don't care what you were and care more about who you are now.
Always enjoy Christi Caldwell's writing! I'm excited to read her next book.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**